Many nurses say they are called to the profession, but for Alison Carlisle, it was a love of science that drew her into healthcare.
“I’ve been interested in medicine since I was 12 years old and my grandfather was in the hospital with cancer,” says Alison, who is originally from Nashville. “I’ll never forget: a nurse asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up and nursing was my answer. I went into college with this plan and never skipped a beat.”
Beginning her journey
Out of high school, Alison went to the University of Tennessee Knoxville, but the low acceptance rates of the nursing program led her back home to Aquinas College to earn the ADN. She started her nursing career in 2005 working with bariatric patients. In 2014, she joined Maury Regional Medical Center as endoscopy nurse. In 2015, Alison began a new adventure, moving into the cardiac rehabilitation center at Maury Regional, where she helps patients recover from recent heart events like heart attacks, surgeries and congestive heart failure, and understand the importance of diet and lifestyle changes and an exercise routine.
Securing her future
Not long after starting her new position, Alison decided it was the right time to expand her education as well. “The number one reason I wanted to get a BSN was job security,” she says. “With most nurses being encouraged to get the BSN by 2020 now, I knew I needed to solidify my future, and my employer encourages us to set personal and departmental goals every year and this was one of mine,” Alison says. Maury Regional offered full tuition reimbursement and provided a list of recommended universities—including American Sentinel University. “I had heard great things from friends at work who had started the program before me, and when I reached out myself, I was impressed.”
Life, work and school
Alison began the BSN in October 2015, continuing to work full time. Outside of her job, she has two children, ages 9 and 11, who are active in sports, keeping her and her husband very busy. “It was a lot of work and I did have to learn to start saying no to certain things, but the great thing is that American Sentinel’s structure makes it doable to go back to school when you’re working,” Alison says. “I can participate in group discussions and read when my kids are asleep. I can work on school work while my kids are doing their homework. The flexibility of this program lets me continue to be a parent and a wife, and the supportive professors mean you always have help when you need it.”
Aside from her family, Alison was fortunate to have five colleagues from work in her support system, all of whom are also working toward the BSN. She finished her last class in January 2018, making her the first in the group to graduate from American Sentinel. “If I could offer other students advice, it would be to go back to school with a friend if you can,” she says. “My coworkers and I leaned on each other for moral support and advice, and it made the whole experience easier.”
Keeping doors open for the future
With the BSN under her belt now, Alison is excited to have the credentials to further her career. “I’m very excited,” she says. “If a position opens up here, I might be a better candidate. And when doors open in my career now, I feel I’ll be ready to take advantage of the opportunities that come my way.”
Inspired by Alison’s story? A BSN is ideal for nurses who want to expand their knowledge base, become more marketable and enjoy greater career stability and mobility. Specialized knowledge forms the foundation of nursing and when you acquire new knowledge, you can apply it to nursing practice in ways that enhance patient care and improve outcomes.